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Sales funnel, B2B sales, B2B marketing expert

Tips for manufacturers to grow client base

My company provides mechanical designs and manufacturers and supplies products to a few companies in both the US and Europe. How do I increase my customers?

This is a typical “opening” question that I get asked when starting a new engagement with clients.  B2B marketing needs to be closely integrated with the new business and new client acquisition process to be effective.

For a public question and answer, I gave some straightforward answers.  The detail of how to apply these, is where my expertise will help you get it right first time.

Sales funnel, B2B sales, B2B marketing expert

Planning B2B sales and marketing plan

Step one for B2B sales

  1. Ask your existing client/s for referrals. If they were happy with the work that you did, they should be happy to help. If you feel the need, offer them a X%/$X discount on the next project for every client they refer. This is ‘win-win-win’ situation because you get more clients, they get a discount, and they use your services again.
  2. Ask your existing clients for a written recommendation & permission to use their logo on your website. Publish them both on your website. This will help increase the conversion rate on your website. If you feel the need, you can offer them a link to their website which will be good for both of your SEO rankings – so another win-win.
  3. Publish as much (relevant and quality) content as possible on your website (about the projects you’ve done, potential projects, your fields of expertise, etc. Obviously, you need to have a professional and trustworthy looking website. I can explain how the articles need to be done.
  4. Create a free ‘get a quote tool’ – many customers check online to get an estimate of how much the project will cost. If you have an automatic online tool, this can attract a lot of customers. I have personally used such a tool and I was very impressed.
  5. Partner with organisations/companies that work with your target clients – for example: I work with lots of entrepreneurs and many of them ask me for referrals to various types of service providers, including programming companies. These companies give me a small percentage of the profits they make from my referrals (of course I only refer to companies which I know and trust as my reputation is worth more than the referral fee).

Step 2 tactics for more sophisticated marketers

In Europe, there are a number of partnership sites for B2B. You could use these sites to post your offer or search for other offers and hopefully make a match.

Another approach is considering hiring local distributors who specialise in your industry. The advantage here is local distributors will already have a strong network to promote your products/services. Furthermore, local distributors would have thorough understanding of the local market, language, and business culture to close deals.

Go talk to your current customers. Ask them why they do business with you. They may, and most likely will, tell you something different than you’re saying to new prospects. Listen to what your current customers are saying and use their messaging to talk to the market. Ask them if they know other companies that could use what you have,

Go and join the professional trade bodies who represent the industries for your existing clients. Ask your existing clients what these are. Once you are a member, you will be able to see a membership list of other organisations who are also members
Plan outbound marketing to approach these companies and see if they want to also work with you.

Consider visiting the annual conferences and trade shows which these professional bodies run because you will then meet in person with prospects. Many people find it easier to sell their expertise face to face. You could consider doing a trade show stand as well where you can display your past work and the logos of your clients. This builds trust and can start discussions.,

B2B sales and marketing work together

In summary – you need to learn the process of B2B new business, you need a strategy for your new business development and then you need a regular tactical execution process to deliver the new business programme.

You may choose to hire an external advisor to help write the strategy, you could get an in-house salesperson to deliver the tactical execution as well, depending on the size of your contracts and how many you need to get in order to pay for their salary plus commission to make it worthwhile for the business.

Rebecca Caroe B2B marketing speaker

Is B2B marketing yielding good returns?

Is the marketing you are doing giving you the yield you seek?

I am asking this question a LOT at the moment.  I  ask it to myself, for my own businesses, I ask clients, I ask prospects.

One answer came from a professional services marketer.  It serves as a good example for in-house marketers to challenge their thinking, to up-skill and to get insight from beyond the internal team in the business.

This is what she wrote  to answer

Hmmm… It’s hard to tell. I cannot know if a speaking engagement got someone interested enough to ask their consultant to investigate our solutions and eventually get in touch with us and 2 years later… we have a deal signed. It is a complex process to sell our service.

Is a long sales cycle a B2B marketing problem?

Yes, it certainly is.  Tracking and managing a diverse set of marketing tactics and campaigns over time takes discipline and forethought.

But where I felt this marketing manager was failing her business colleagues was around integrating the content creation, the speech-giving with marketing analytics and tracking data.

I challenge the assertion that you “cannot know” if a speaking engagement has any effect.

How to track conference speeches for marketing impact

Let me make some suggestions:

  • Every conference – offer a free download of something valuable. Create a trackable URL. Cookie the browsers visiting that site.
  • ALSO offer the visitor something even more valuable (not a sales pitch) if they sign up to your database

Both of these create trackable events which (even if 2 years passes) can enable you to demonstrate results.

Any pass-on of URLs to second parties like consultants or colleagues is tracked too.

I use Google Campaign URL builder and also short link services like Bit.ly for this.

Upskill your internal marketing team

When did you last go and get training and invest in your internal marketing team?  I fear many in-house teams do not get the attention they deserve.  Hiring an agency or consultant is not necessarily going to improve the team skills – it delegates marketing activity to outsiders.

What could you do to invest better, to improve your team’s ability to run the strategy as well as the execution, to better understand what the agency / consultant is doing for you, so that they can brief better, to guide the marketing plan better, to adapt and adjust the marketing budget for new tech, for new market conditions (recession?) and above all, to stay in front of the competition?

So challenge yourself, is the marketing you are doing giving you the yield you seek?

Make your B2B proposal stand out

One of the joys of being a freelance consultant is that sometimes I get to act on behalf of my client and hire specialists to work on their B2B marketing campaigns.

I recently advertised a job and was stunned by one of the proposal submissions. As a new business specialist I know how hard it is to make your proposal stand out from others. This one hit all the gold stars for me.

Integrate proposals and CRM

I was sent an unique URL to view the proposal. This makes everything trackable – it was on a sub-domain of the B2B marketing agency’s website and so I know they will be able to track:

  • How many times I opened it
  • Which sections I browsed (they are distinctly separate)
  • How long I spent reading each part
  • Which sections I expanded to read further

All in all it was a pleasure to read and to be “sold” to. I felt engaged in the process and I know my actions on that page enabled the agency to get better insight into me as a prospect.

Screenshots from the marketing proposal web page.

And a final note, there’s a Squarespace service Qwilr which offers this on a 14 day trial.

Mystery, conspiracy or just plain busy?

I wrote the headline to a prospect who wasn’t returning my calls.

The goal was to provoke a response – I also left phone messages…several.

When you have new business pipeline deals to close, remember this one thing.

The client does not owe you the business but s/he does owe you an answer.

There are 3 possible answers – Yes, No and Maybe.

Go gettem!

What is the best way to get new customers for a digital agency Creative Agency Secrets Digital Marketing

What is the best way to get new customers for a digital agency?

We are an Eastern Europe digital agency of 40+ team specialising in business software development. We have been doing some projects for a high profile customers in the UK through our partner there. What would be the best way for us to find new customers? We don’t have a sales nor marketing team as most sales were driven by our partner.

The key elements are to follow the Customer Value Optimisation model. Now since you don’t have Business Development resource in-house you are going to have to hire or outsource to get the skillset you need.

Before that, and the most important part of the CVO is “Determine your Product / Market Fit”. That’s the core and here I strongly advise you spend some money on hiring a marketing expert who can facilitate a session with you to extract that, capture it into a written strategy plan and help you write the tactical implementation plan. (that’s the Return Path on CVO).

Then you have the core already agreed and can use this to brief outsourced folks to write landing pages, ad copy, research DM lists, run social, do follow up calls etc. In this way you can hire execution people who are cheaper than strategy people.

My own Lead Generation Methodology follows a similar pathway detailed on this slideshare deck and accompanying YouTube

The Art and Science of Generating Leads

Watch the Video training of the Art and Science of Generating Leads